Judging Julio Jones impact may not be as simple as catches, yards and touchdowns this season for the Titans.
It might be much simpler than that, how about just looking at points and wins.
Jones is not likely to put up the numbers he did in Atlanta in this Titans offense, but he could be the key to unlocking a huge year for the team by creating more opportunities for Derrick Henry and AJ Brown.
“Nothing really changes for the way we want to do things it just gives us another weapon honestly.” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill, “Last year we had a lot of weapons as well and guys that did a great job for us and have since moved on so just figuring out how all the pieces we have this year fit our team and then using them to counterbalance each other you know you cant just focus in on Derrick or focus in on AJ now we have someone on the other side who requires a lot of attention as well, so they all help balance out the defense and will create opportunities for the other guys.”
The Titans averaged 30.7 points per game last year with Corey Davis going over 900 yards and Jonnu Smith scoring 9 touchdowns, both players left the team in free agency. They are both good players, but neither draws the kind of attention Jones does.
In his very biggest season Jones got 204 targets in 2016. That is over 12 a game! That number has come down some the last five seasons, but it is hard to see him even matching these numbers in Tennessee.
Julio Jones Targets Per Game
2020 – 7.5
2019 – 10.4
2018 – 10.6
2017 – 9.3
2016 – 9.2
Titans star AJ Brown broke out the last two years topping 1,000 yards in both but he still only averaged 7.5 and 5.2 targets per game.
The question is will a lack of targets be a problem for a guy who is use to seeing the ball thrown his way and thrown his way A LOT?
Titans general manager Jon Robinson does not sound concerned, ” I think in my discussions his number one goal wasn’t targets, it wasn’t about that, his goal is to win. That’s the mindset we are looking for, whether it’s targets, whether it’s two targets or no targets, contribute to winning the football game. I think that’s the mindset that he has.”
That does not mean Jones can not be or is not going to be a 1,000 yard receiver for the Titans. He has never averaged less than 13.8 yards per catch. At 6-3, 220 pounds and with a 4.39 (40) yard dash he is a big play waiting to happen in the Titans offense.
Reports before the trade had Jones seeking a quarterback who could hit him deep, so he apparently has his eyes set on hitting the big one in Nashville and with Henry paralyzing defense he will get those opportunities with the Titans play-action game. Even if Jones averaged his career low it would only take 76 catches in 17 games (4.5 per game) for him to hit the century mark.
Jones is 32-years old and while he has been to the Super Bowl he has never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. He very well could be at the point his career where 10-15 wins this season are much more important than 10-15 targets a game.